Lesson Plan: Simple Shapes and Colors in Abstract Printmaking

(Alexander Calder, Bouboules, 1971, lithograph, 27.5 inches x 20.87 inches, Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.)

This lesson plan contains the Texas TEKS for Elementary, Middle and High School art teachers. This lesson discusses the use of simple colors and shapes in printmaking to create an abstract composition.

If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson can be downloaded in the link below.


Culture: American

Subject: Fine Arts, Art History

Collection: Tyler Museum of Art Permanent Collection

Grades: Elementary School, Middle School and High School

Topics: Artistic Practices, Art History, Critical Thinking, Printmaking

Art Vocabulary

Activity Vocabulary:

Printmaking:

  • A process of art making that allows an artist to create multiple copies of an image. The image is created by placing ink over a plate that was manipulated by the artist. This process includes lithography.

Lithograph:

  • A lithograph is a type of print.
    • To create a lithograph, the artist draws an image on a prepared limestone plate with an oil-based crayon.
    • Then, the artist applies a coat of rosin and talcum powder to the top of the plate.
    • Afterwards, a gum aribic acid solution is painted onto the plate. This allows a chemical reaction to occur with the previously applied materials.
    • After the solution has set, the artist wipes away the original sketch with a solvent called lithotine.
    • The result is a ghost image caused by the application of solutions. Once the plate is dry, the artist rolls ink across the surface of the plate.
    • When this process is complete, the artist places a piece of paper on the plate and rolls the plate through the printing press.
    • The result is an ink image from the plate onto the paper.

Edition:

  • An edition is the a recreation of an image, often attributed to printmaking. A specific print can have an edition number, meaning the number in a series of copies. An example can be the 12th copy of 100 copies.

Abstract Art:

  • An abstract composition uses a variety of shapes, lines, colors, and patterns to create a mood, an expression of a concept, or a unique view of something from nature.

Elements of Design:

  • Artists use the elements of design to create the foundation of the artwork. The elements of art include: line, shape, form, space, color, and texture.

Line:

  • An element of design; line is created on a surface with a pointed moving tool. Lines can range in size, width, texture, and presentation. Common types of line are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, zig-zag, and curved.

Shape:

  • An element of design; shape is a two-dimensional enclosed space that represents either an organic shape or a geometric shape. Geometric shapes include squares, circles, rectangles, triangles and other standard geometric shapes. Organic shapes include natural non-geometric shapes that are developed from curvilinear lines.

Form:

  • An element of design; form is a three-dimensional enclosed space that represents organic and geometric shapes in a third space. Geometric forms include cubes, spheres, triangular prisms, rectangular prisms, and cones. Organic shapes include three-dimensional forms observed in nature, such as trees, rivers, and rocks.

Space:

  • An element of design; this term defines the surface area between, before, and behind an object in a composition.

Color:

  • An element of design; this term defines the pigments used in a painting. Color can be organized into categories, such as: hues, values, complements, and intensity.

Texture:

  • An element of design; this term defines an artwork’s surface. The artist’s use of the chosen medium creates either implied or actual texture.

Principles of Design:

  • Artists used principles of design to build upon the foundational elements of design. This includes the following: rhythm, movement, balance, proportion, variety, emphasis, and unity. 

Rhythm/ Pattern:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the repetitive imagery and elements of design found in a composition.

Movement:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the visual movement observed in a painting. This can be identified as kinetic movement or implied movement. Additionally, movement can be defined as how the viewer’s eye moves throughout the composition.

Balance:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the arrangement of the presented imagery with the elements of design. It refers to either asymmetrical compositions or symmetrical compositions.

Proportion:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the comparative size between objects in the composition. It can refer to the imagery within a painting or the size between a sculpture and a real object.

Variety:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the combination of imagery, objects, and ideas in an artwork.

Emphasis:

  • A principle of design; this term defines the most prominent area in a composition. The viewer’s eye is drawn to this point because the artist used a mixture of the elements and principles of design.

Unity:

  • A principle of design; this term defines how the elements and principles of design are combined within a composition.

Resources for Vocabulary:

“Art Term: Abstract Art.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art.

“Art Term: Edition.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/e/edition.

“Contemporary Art: Alexander Calder.” Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: The University of Oklahoma. Updated October 28, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.ou.edu/fjjma/collections0/contemporaryArt/calder.

Manes, Cara and Maza, Zuna. “Alexander Calder: Modern from the Star.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated March 25, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5209.

Ragan, Rosalins. “Elements of Art.” In Art Talk, 61 – 211. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Fransico: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Ragan, Rosalins. “The Principles of Design.” In Art Talk, 211 – 347. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Fransisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Spira, Freyda and Zanis, Liz. “What is Printmaking?” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking.

Tomio, Kimberley Bush. “Object Record: Bouboules.” Tyler Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed: May 17, 2021. https://tylermuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/E3233FBC-1D72-4287-80AF-325115841650.

“Who is Alexander Calder?” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/alexander-calder-848/who-is-alexander-calder.

Zanis, Liz. “Lithograph.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking/lithograph.

Elementary School

Lesson Plans

Goals:

Elementary School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the art historical significance of the artwork;
  • And, identify how color and shape can be used to create an abstract work of art.

Texas Elementary School TEKS:

Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade

Kindergarten:

  • §117.102.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • gather information from subjects in the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, and form, and the principles of design, including repetition/pattern and balance, in the environment.
  • §117.102.b.2. A
    • Creative Expression:
      • create artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, and forms;
  • §117.102.b.3. B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • share ideas about personal experiences such as family and friends and develop awareness and sensitivity to differing experiences and opinions through artwork;
      • identify the uses of art in everyday life;
  • §117.102.b.4. B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • express ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

First Grade:

  • §117.105.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify similarities, differences, and variations among subjects in the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, and form, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, and balance, in nature and human-made environments.
  • §117.105.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • invent images that combine a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, and forms;
      • place components in orderly arrangements to create designs;
  • §117.105.b.3. A / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify simple ideas expressed in artworks through different media;
      • discuss the use of art in everyday life;
  • §117.105.b.4.A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • identify ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers.

Second Grade:

  • §117.108.b.1.A / B
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast variations in objects and subjects from the environment using the senses;
      • identify the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, and space, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, and balance.
  • §117.108.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • express ideas and feelings in personal artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, forms, and space;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.108.b.3. B / C
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • examine historical and contemporary artworks created by men and women, making connections to various cultures;
      • analyze how art affects everyday life and is connected to jobs in art and design;
  • §117.108.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • support reasons for preferences in personal artworks;
      • compare and contrast ideas found in collections such as real or virtual art museums, galleries, portfolios, or exhibitions using original artworks created by artists or peers;

Third Grade:

  • §117.111.b.1.B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity;
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.111.b.2. B
    • Creative Expression
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.111.b.3. A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify simple main ideas expressed in artworks from various times and places;
      • compare and contrast artworks created by historical and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.111.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as oral response or artist statements to identify main ideas found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Fourth Grade:

  • §117.114.b.1.B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity;
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.114.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design; and
  • §117.114.b.3. B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • compare purpose and content in artworks created by historical and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.114.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, intent, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, and historical and contemporary artists.
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify emotions found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Fifth Grade:

  • §117.117.b.1. B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • use appropriate vocabulary when discussing the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, and the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity; and
      • discuss the elements of art as building blocks and the principles of design as organizers of works of art.
  • §117.117.b.2. A / B
    • Creative Expression:
      • integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art;
      • create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design;
  • §117.117.b.3. A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • compare the purpose and effectiveness of artworks from various times and places, evaluating the artist’s use of media and techniques, expression of emotions, or use of symbols;
      • compare the purpose and effectiveness of artworks created by historic and contemporary men and women, making connections to various cultures;
  • §117.117.b.4. A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate the elements of art, principles of design, general intent, media and techniques, or expressive qualities in artworks of self, peers, or historical and contemporary artists;
      • use methods such as written or oral response or artist statements to identify themes found in collections of artworks created by self, peers, and major historical or contemporary artists in real or virtual portfolios, galleries, or art museums;

Elementary School Art Activities:

Questions for Elementary School Students:

  1. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each element of art is located in the print.
  2. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each principle of design in located in the print.
  3. Identify how Alexander Calder creates an abstract image using colors and shapes.
  4. Is Alexander Calder’s simple composition considered a good representation of abstract art? Explain your answer.

Activity: Elementary School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Tempera paint or Printing Ink, Tray, Styrofoam Shapes, Hand-Washing Station, Pencil, Paper
  • Subject: Color, Shape, Abstraction
  • Texas TEKS: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade. Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade
  • Duration: Single Day Project or an Extended Project

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Create an abstract print that uses color and shapes to create an abstract composition. Provide the students a variety of shapes made from Styrofoam. Students will draw these shapes on the paper to determine where each shape will be located. Once the student has drawn between 10 – 15 shapes on the paper, he or she can begin the printing process. The student will pick up a Styrofoam shape and dip it into a tray of tempera paint or printing ink. Then, he or she will stamp it over the drawn shape. He or she will continue this process until a variety of colors and shapes were stamped. Once the printing process is complete, place the paper in a safe place to dry.

Activity: Elementary School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Research, Artwork Analysis
  • Texas TEKS: Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade. Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade
  • Duration: Single Day Assignment or a Research Paper

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Write about the difference between abstract artwork and realistic artwork. Compare Calder’s print to real objects found in homes, nature, and school.

Resources:

“19 TAC Chapter 117. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Fine Arts.” Texas Education Agency. Updated 2020. Accessed April 29, 2021. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/.

“Art Term: Abstract Art.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art.

“Art Term: Edition.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/e/edition.

“Contemporary Art: Alexander Calder.” Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: The University of Oklahoma. Updated October 28, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.ou.edu/fjjma/collections0/contemporaryArt/calder.

Manes, Cara and Maza, Zuna. “Alexander Calder: Modern from the Star.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated March 25, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5209.

Ragan, Rosalins. “Elements of Art.” In Art Talk, 61 – 211. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Ragan, Rosalins. “The Principles of Design.” In Art Talk, 211 – 347. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Spira, Freyda and Zanis, Liz. “What is Printmaking?” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking.

Tomio, Kimberley Bush. “Object Record: Bouboules.” Tyler Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed: May 17, 2021. https://tylermuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/E3233FBC-1D72-4287-80AF-325115841650.

“Who is Alexander Calder?” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/alexander-calder-848/who-is-alexander-calder.

Zanis, Liz. “Lithograph.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking/lithograph.

Middle School Lesson Plans

Goals:

Middle School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the art historical significance of the artwork;
  • And, identify how color and shape can be used to create an abstract work of art.

Texas Middle School TEKS:

Art 1, Art 2, Art 3

Art 1:

  • §117.202.c.1.B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • understand and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • understand and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
      • discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.202.c.1.A
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
  • §117.202.c.3.B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • identify examples of art that convey universal themes such as beliefs, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
  • §117.202.c.4.A / B / C / D / E
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • create written or oral responses to artwork using appropriate art vocabulary;
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;

Art 2:

  • §117.203.b.1.B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • understand and apply the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks that express a variety of ideas based on direct observations, original sources, and personal experiences, including memory, identity, imagination, and the community;
  • §117.203.b.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze ways that global, cultural, historical, and political issues influence artworks;
      • analyze selected artworks to determine contemporary relevance in relationship to universal themes such as belief, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
  • §117.203.b.4.B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;

Art 3:

  • §117.203.b.1. B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • evaluate the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • evaluate the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
      • compare and contrast the expressive properties of artworks, including appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol, using vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.203.b.1.A
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artworks expressing themes found through direct observation; original sources; personal experiences, including memory, identity, and imagination; and the community;
  • §117.203.b.3.B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • analyze cultural ideas expressed in artworks relating to social, political, and environmental themes such as environment/nature, conflict and power, relationships to others, and reality/fantasy;
  • §117.203.b.4.A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • create written and oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgment, and personal expression;
      • analyze original artworks and portfolios using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork.

Middle School Art Activities:

Questions for Middle School Students:

  1. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each element of art is located in the print.
  2. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each principle of design in located in the print.
  3. Identify how Alexander Calder creates an abstract image using colors and shapes.
  4. Is Alexander Calder’s simple composition considered a good representation of abstract art? Explain your answer.

Activity: Middle School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Tempera paint or Printing Ink, Tray, Styrofoam Shapes, Hand-Washing Station, Pencil, Paper
  • Subject: Color, Shape, Abstraction
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Single Day Project or an Extended Project

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Create an abstract print that uses color and shapes to create an abstract composition. Provide the students a variety of shapes made from Styrofoam. Students will draw these shapes on the paper to determine where each shape will be located. Encourage the students to overlap the shapes to create unique designs. Once the student has drawn between 10 – 15 shapes on the paper, he or she can begin the printing process. The student will pick up a Styrofoam shape and dip it into a tray of tempera paint or printing ink. Then, he or she will stamp it over the drawn shape. He or she will continue this process until a variety of colors and shapes were stamped. Once the printing process is complete, place the paper in a safe place to dry. Afterwards, the student will write a two page discussion of why he or she arranged the shapes and colors in the composition to create the final image.

Activity: Middle School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Research, Artwork Analysis
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Single Day Assignment or a Research Paper

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Write a two-page paper discussing the difference between abstract artwork and realistic artwork. Compare Calder’s print to real objects found in homes, nature, and school. Use sources and cite the references in a bibliography.

Resources:

“19 TAC Chapter 117. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Fine Arts.” Texas Education Agency. Updated 2020. Accessed April 29, 2021. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/.

“Art Term: Abstract Art.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art.

“Art Term: Edition.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/e/edition.

“Contemporary Art: Alexander Calder.” Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: The University of Oklahoma. Updated October 28, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.ou.edu/fjjma/collections0/contemporaryArt/calder.

Manes, Cara and Maza, Zuna. “Alexander Calder: Modern from the Star.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated March 25, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5209.

Ragan, Rosalins. “Elements of Art.” In Art Talk, 61 – 211. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Ragan, Rosalins. “The Principles of Design.” In Art Talk, 211 – 347. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Spira, Freyda and Zanis, Liz. “What is Printmaking?” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking.

Tomio, Kimberley Bush. “Object Record: Bouboules.” Tyler Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed: May 17, 2021. https://tylermuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/E3233FBC-1D72-4287-80AF-325115841650.

“Who is Alexander Calder?” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/alexander-calder-848/who-is-alexander-calder.

Zanis, Liz. “Lithograph.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking/lithograph.

High School Lesson Plans

Goals:

High School Students of all Levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the art historical significance of the artwork;
  • And, identify how color and shape can be used to create an abstract work of art.

Texas High School TEKS:

Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV

Level I:

  • §117.302.c.1.B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and understand the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • identify and understand the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
      • make judgments about the expressive properties such as content, meaning, message, and metaphor of artwork using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.302.c.2.A / D
    • Creative Expression:
      • use visual solutions to create original artwork by problem solving through direct observation, original sources, experiences, narrations, and imagination;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
  • §117.302.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance
      • compare and contrast historical and contemporary styles while identifying general themes and trends;
      • describe general characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures, which might also include personal identity and heritage;
  • §117.302.c.4.B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a verbal or written method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;

Level II:

  • §117.303.c.1.B / C / D
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • identify and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks;
      •  identify and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity in personal artworks;
      • explore suitability of art media and processes to express specific ideas such as content, meaning, message, appropriation, and metaphor relating to visual themes of artworks using art vocabulary accurately.
  • §117.303.c.2.B / D
    • Creative Expression:
      • apply design skills in creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and examining consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      •  create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
  • §117.303.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • examine selected historical periods or styles of art to identify general themes and trends;
      • analyze specific characteristics in artwork from a variety of cultures;
  • §117.303.c.4.A / B
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • interpret, evaluate, and justify artistic decisions in artwork by self, peers, and other artists such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;

Level III:

  • §117.304.c.1. B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
  • §117.304.c.2.A / B / D
    • Creative Expression:
      • create original artwork using multiple solutions from direct observation, original sources, experiences, and imagination in order to expand personal themes that demonstrate artistic intent;
      •  solve visual problems and develop multiple solutions for designing ideas, creating practical applications, clarifying presentations, and evaluating consumer choices in order to make successful design decisions;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
  • §117.304.c.3.A / B / C / D
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • distinguish the correlation between specific characteristics and influences of various cultures and contemporary artwork;
  • §117.304.c.4.B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • analyze personal artwork in order to create a written response such as an artist’s statement reflecting intent, inspiration, the elements of art and principles of design within the artwork, and measure of uniqueness;

Level IV:

  • §117.305.c.1.B / C
    • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
      • compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artwork;
      • compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artwork;
  • §117.305.c.2.B / D
    • Creative Expression:
      • evaluate and justify design ideas and concepts to create a body of personal artwork;
      • create original artwork to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, or impressions;
  • §117.305.c.3.A / B
    • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
      • research and report on selected historical periods, artists, general themes, trends, and styles of art;
      • analyze and evaluate the influence of contemporary cultures on artwork;
  • §117.305.c.4.A / B / C
    • Critical Evaluation and Response:
      • develop evaluative criteria to justify artistic decisions in artwork such as that in museums, local galleries, art exhibits, and websites based on a high level of creativity and expertise in one or more art areas;
      • evaluate and analyze artwork using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
      • analyze personal artwork in order to create a written response such as an artist’s statement reflecting intent, inspiration, the elements of art and principles of design within the artwork, and the measure of uniqueness.

High School Art Activities:

Questions for High School Students:

  1. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each element of art is located in the print.
  2. Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Identify where each principle of design in located in the print.
  3. Identify how Alexander Calder creates an abstract image using colors and shapes.
  4. Is Alexander Calder’s simple composition considered a good representation of abstract art? Explain your answer.

Activity: High School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom and/or outdoor location
  • Materials: Tempera paint or Printing Ink, Tray, Styrofoam Shapes, Hand-Washing Station, Pencil, Paper
  • Subject: Color, Shape, Abstraction
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Single Day Project or an Extended Project

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Create an abstract print that uses color and shapes to create an abstract composition. Provide the students a variety of shapes made from Styrofoam. Students will draw these shapes on the paper to determine where each shape will be located. Encourage the students to overlap the shapes to create unique designs. Once the student has drawn between 10 – 15 shapes on the paper, he or she can begin the printing process. The student will pick up a Styrofoam shape and dip it into a tray of tempera paint or printing ink. Then, he or she will stamp it over the drawn shape. He or she will continue this process until a variety of colors and shapes were stamped. Once the printing process is complete, place the paper in a safe place to dry. Afterwards, the student will write a 2 – 3 page paper discussing why they arranged the shapes and colors in the composition to create the final image.

Activity: High School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pencil/ Pen on Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Research, Artwork Analysis
  • Texas TEKS: Art Level I, Level II, Level III, and Level IV
  • Duration: Single Day Assignment or a Research Paper

Examine Alexander Calder’s Bouboules. Write a 3 – 4 page paper discussing the difference between abstract artwork and realistic artwork. Compare Calder’s print to real objects found in homes, nature, and school. Use Calder’s print when you are writing your paper. Use sources and cite the references in a bibliography.

Resources:

“19 TAC Chapter 117. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Fine Arts.” Texas Education Agency. Updated 2020. Accessed April 29, 2021. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter117/.

“Art Term: Abstract Art.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/a/abstract-art.

“Art Term: Edition.” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/e/edition.

“Contemporary Art: Alexander Calder.” Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: The University of Oklahoma. Updated October 28, 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.ou.edu/fjjma/collections0/contemporaryArt/calder.

Manes, Cara and Maza, Zuna. “Alexander Calder: Modern from the Star.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated March 25, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5209.

Ragan, Rosalins. “Elements of Art.” In Art Talk, 61 – 211. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Ragan, Rosalins. “The Principles of Design.” In Art Talk, 211 – 347. Edited by Bennett and McKnight Division. San Francisco: Glencoe Publishing Company, 1988.

Spira, Freyda and Zanis, Liz. “What is Printmaking?” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking.

Tomio, Kimberley Bush. “Object Record: Bouboules.” Tyler Museum of Art. Updated 2021. Accessed: May 17, 2021.

https://tylermuseum.pastperfectonline.com/webobject/E3233FBC-1D72-4287-80AF-325115841650.

“Who is Alexander Calder?” Tate Modern Museum of Art. Updated 2016. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/alexander-calder-848/who-is-alexander-calder.

Zanis, Liz. “Lithograph.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Updated 2018. Accessed May 17, 2021. https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques/printmaking/lithograph.

For more educational resources created by the Tyler Museum of Art, visit our YouTube page by clicking on the YouTube button below or clicking the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxut2kfUh_uO-RIQWVFzXPg/videos

If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback.

Thank you for visiting the TMA’s Education Blog!

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